A bit nervous…

Feeling a bit nervous lately but, fortunately and thankfully, I’ve got an incredible support network and my people always bring me back from the edge.  =D   Still waiting on the visa issuance number but have been reassured that things will all work out on that end so am trusting the professionals.  For the most part.

I’m going to miss my family and friends.

Came across this on redpenofdoom.blogspot.com, which is great because I was frustrated that Google Street View wasn’t available for S.Korea!


Packing and drugs…

One of the things that impressed me when first reading about DGEV and UCCS was the support system a new teacher is offered before s/he ever steps foot on campus.  I have been set up with a ‘buddy’ (a current teacher that has been with DGEV for a while) and she has been gracious enough to give me some useful tips!

Here are just a few from friends, my buddy, and elsewhere:

  • Bring a step-down voltage converter if you are from a country that normally uses 110V.  Korea is on 220V.  Reading up on the internet, apparently some things can be plugged in to the outlets over there just using a plug adapter but I would rather not take a chance on my things being fried!  Also, don’t bother bringing a hair dryer/curling or flat iron/etc.  Just buy them over there.  No electrical problems that way.  Easy Peasy.
  • Bring a grounded plug adapter.  Korean outlets have two rounded prongs-  http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/AK/AK_EN_1_5_6.jsp


  • Shoes- unless you wear a size US8/EU38.5/UK5.5 or smaller, avoid the hassle and bring whatever shoes you’ll need for the year.

(Update:  I just received my order from this company and these flats are incredibly comfortable, cute, and weigh next to nothing!  Also, they are machine washable which means I can wear them without socks in the summer.  Yay!  Note: I am not affiliated with this company in any way.)



  • Clothing- pack 1/3 cold weather and 2/3 warm weather items  (sleeveless clothing is considered inappropriate but I do have some for under other tops)
  • And you’ve read it a dozen times already- but wear your heaviest items on the plane
  • Bring 1 bag for laptop/electronics and stuff your purse items in there (pack a purse or just buy one when you get over there)
  • Bring 1 carry-on bag (weight under 10kg/22lbs and sum of measurements = less than 115cm/45in)
  • Check 2 bags less than 50 pounds each and sum of measurements = less than 158cm/62in each
  • Just pony up the dough for an extra checked suitcase if your airfare only includes one free checked bag


  • Written prescriptions from your doctor if you need them (glasses/medication)
  • Enough money to get you through the first month (you will most likely pay for the health exam and a few other expenses plus household/personal items).  People seem to be recommending $400-$500 (or more).
  • Set of jersey-fabric sheets (I have twin XL since it will fit on regular, as well)
  • (Update) US-size bath towel
  • Tweezers!
  • Wrist watch
  • Mini photo album with pictures of friends and family (old school- printed ones!)
  • (Update) Cold medicine!  My DGEV buddy sent me a note about this and I noticed there were some incredibly good sales on my favorites so went ahead and stocked up today.  I think I have enough to last me a year… if not longer.
  • (Update) Hair color.  =)
  • (Update) Snacks for first few days or so.

Something else I’m keeping in mind- there will be a drug test and apparently the acid blocker ranitidine (found in Zantac) occasionally produces a false positive for methamphetamine!?!  Since that’s what I usually use to treat my symptoms (the Zantac, not the meth) I’ll definitely be avoiding heartburn triggers.

Dividing my shoes/clothing/misc fairly evenly between my bags so if one is lost or delayed then I have the same types of things in my other bag.  Also, carry-on/computer bag have the most important items plus a couple outfits- just in case!

Cyberstalking FedEx…

Even though it would be ridiculous to expect the federal apostille to be completed so soon, I’m still turning into a FedEx tracking page cyberstalker…  I’m really hoping to see it shipped back before the end of the week.

This document round up has been like a game of red-light, green-light.

Wait for it…wait for it……GO! GO! GO! Wait for it…wait for it……GO! GO! GO!


And a link to some great language tutorials (thanks, R!):


WHOOPS! Or Not! (U.S. Residency Certification- IRS form 8802)

From what I can tell, the IRS form 8802 (U.S. Residency Certification) to avoid double taxation only applies to PUBLIC SCHOOL employees so not exactly necessary for me.

Fortunately, there is a phone number for the IRS Help Desk so that the payment can be cancelled… What a doofus I am.

IRS Help Desk:  (267) 941-1000

Application Form PDF:  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8802.pdf

Application Instructions PDF:  http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8802.pdf

Helpful information on the CR should you need it:


Update (I edit/update my posts a lot, so I’m hoping there aren’t update notices emailed to everyone following this blog- that might get annoying for you!  If so, I apologize!):

Getting things squared away-

My local stationery store has a plethora of legal forms and I was able to get a long-form durable General Power of Attorney for $5.  Sure, researching and typing up my own would have been free but also time consuming.

Purchasing one that was pre-printed on nice paper and only used about 3 minutes of my day seemed like a good use of my time and money.  Definitely worth $5 for the convenience.

Notary service at my bank is free and easy so it will be a simple procedure.

Typhoid vaccination:  Taken care of at my local pharmacy!  Apparently, the oral vaccine requires a prescription (so… doctor visit, extra expense, extra time!) but the injection does not.  If you live in a rural area your vaccine may have to be ordered in.  Allow several days for this.

My insurance covered approximately half of the cost and around here the bottle of vaccine alone is about $95 (not including the associated costs for administering the vaccine which were about $15).

My total out-of-pocket expense for the injectable typhoid vaccine was $60.

Flu shot:  Again, local pharmacy.  $12.

Also, I’ve made an appointment to have a little dental work done before I leave.  I’ve been putting off having a filling replaced, even though it aches, and I finally realized that the last thing I need is an emergency dental visit in the middle of trying to get settled in over there!

Information for wire transfer of funds to my bank:  I went in asking for a SWIFT code but what I got was the routing number for their ‘middle man’ (correspondent institution).  I’m not sure if there is more information that I need beyond this, other than my account and routing numbers, so I will check into this again soon.

It seems as though incoming wire transfers from Korea are not exactly common around here…and I’m pretty sure the information is typed up in Comic Sans (!?!).

But they were nice so I tried not to look ‘askance’ at the paper- not until I was back out in the car, anyway.  ;o)

Update 2:

The wait is over!  FBI Criminal Record Check arrived.  ~7 weeks from when the paperwork was accepted at their facility in Clarksburg, WV.

Final Interview went well! (Well…I *think* it did…)

The final interview was fun!  I definitely felt a bit more relaxed and didn’t lose my train of thought this time around (thank goodness for small favors) and we laughed, a lot.

Ohhhh, but then again… maybe I’m remembering it wrong and I was the only one laughing while he sat there horrified, nervously chuckling while he eyed the power button, wishing he could “accidentally” hit it and run…

Either way, it’s done and I should know in a week.

As a gesture of faith in myself, I ordered a large rolling duffel bag last week that was 70% off.  I’m hoping I will be delivered good news and my new luggage all on the same day!  *^^*

A note about the interview: once again, I prepared for a behavioral interview and also thought out even more, “What would you do if…” classroom management/situation answers.  That was a good thing!

Also, I used my checklist for the first interview and rechecked my Skype settings, background, lighting, all of that.

The questions I wrote down to ask were about (there were more, but were answered in the course of conversation):

  • Contacting current teachers (although, several have blogs and I’ve gleaned a LOT of information from them.  It sounds creepy haha but if the blogs weren’t meant to be read they wouldn’t be out there, correct?).
  • Preparing lesson plans ahead of time (I have a binder full from ed. classes that I’m working on tweaking then scanning/saving on to a flashdrive)

Also, this book was suggested as an excellent reference so I’ve ordered it and will definitely be reading it before I go (as of today, there are quite a few used copies on Amazon.com)!

Learning to Think Korean: A Guide to Living and Working in Korea.  Robert L. Kohls

Aaaaaannnnnd DONE! TEFL 140-hour

TEFL certificate is finished (edit: by finished, I mean that I have scanned copies of my certificates and the hard copies will be mailed out in the next couple of days)!  I tried to figure the hours spent and it probably only took about 130 hours total.  Out of that 130, probably 90 hours were intense reading/lesson plan development and the others… well, I may or may not have allowed myself to get sidetracked now and again as I looked through ESL websites.

Overall, I averaged a little over 2 hours a day on all 5 parts plus the written exam portion.  I figured if I’m paying for it I might as well get everything I can out of it!  It feels wonderful to have that behind me.

Could you complete this in less time?  Probably- if you already knew everything and were just going through the motions for the certificate.  However, if you were intent on learning everything possible and developing unique, and usable, lesson plans then I would say give yourself at least 6 weeks.  Also, you will get very helpful feedback on all of your lesson plans.  I submitted mine one at a time as I completed them and the feedback was extremely helpful in fine-tuning each lesson.

My final interview is set for this week.

I am prepared.

I am calm.

I am ready.

(Okay… not *really* calm!!!  So excited!!!)

Interview went well!

The interview went very well and I seem to recall that I was hand dancing a little right before we hung up from Skype.  I think she was laughing so hopefully that’s a good thing…  =D  The interview lasted for over an hour and there were a few moments where I lost my train of thought just a bit.  I really should have taken a second to write down the basic wording of the question while ‘gathering my thoughts’.

But I can do that for the NEXT INTERVIEW!  Yay!  =)

What I did to prep this morning for the Skype interview:

Ate a very light breakfast and had NO caffeine

Re-checked the lighting

Re-checked the sound

Double checked the settings so that the headset was selected for both the microphone and speakers

Adjusted the chair to center it

Moved webcam up higher (since I had it on top if the monitor I just put two books under the monitor itself)

Re-checked the background (Shoji screen behind me since the webcam faced out into the living room)

Did my makeup and hair and then checked it on the webcam for wash-out

Checked my teeth!

Taped a big sign over the doorbell DO NOT RING DOORBELL PLEASE!

Put the dog outside

Got two cups of water- one hot and one cold

Checked my email for any last minute changes to interview time

Turned my phone on silent but put it where I could see in case she called, instead

Went to the bathroom.  Twice.

Grabbed a box of tissues, just in case

Taped a smiley face on the wall behind the computer

Read through my application, resume, educational philosophy (written previously), letter of interest, and LOR’s

Told myself, I am prepared, I am calm, I am ready.

The interviewer was fantastic!  She really put me at ease and most of my nerves disappeared within the first 10 minutes.

Now, I just wait for the follow-up interview in 2-3 weeks.

FedEx, USPS, & Behavioral Interviews

If you were like me and thought that, as long as you got there before 9:30am, then shipping Christmas packages would be easy peasy today… silly us.  I got to the post office at 9:26am and there were already over a dozen people in front of me and one woman had somewhere between 12-15 packages on a handtruck….

All in all, the two clerks on duty did a great job but I imagine they’ll be 10 kinds of happy when their shifts are over.

Second on my list was a ‘quick stop’ at the local FedEx shipping center.  I was the first in line, the place was quiet, 1940’s Christmas music wafting around me… bliss.  Until the computer decided that no, you are not allowed to print prepaid return shipping labels today. Last Friday? No problem.  Tomorrow?  Happy to see you.  Today?  Holy Moly.  To her credit, the clerk was very patient, made phone calls, and stayed with it until it was sorted- still took nearly an hour.

HOWEVER- my documents are now on their way to the Secretary of State along with a prepaid envelope to mail the apostilled degree copies back to me.  Total cost for documents out and back was about $34USD.

One reason that I wanted everything finished today was so I would have all afternoon to prepare for my Skype interview tomorrow.

Some fantastic tips from friends that have professional experience coaching job-seekers and career changers:


Behavioral interview type questions will explore:

A task or situation you experienced

What did you do?

What were the results?

1- Get your stories straight.  Seriously.  YOUR stories. A behavioral interview is about getting to know YOU, what you have experienced, and how your past experiences have prepared you for the future.

2- Print out a copy of the job description and highlight the areas that could be considered preferred skills or attributes.  This might be under preferred qualifications or something similar.  OR you might have to pull these out of a descriptive paragraph of the job description.  The point is, know what they want then think back through all of your experiences and find something that describes what they’re looking for.  It doesn’t have to be exact but it does need to be relevant.

3- If you need to, print out a few key words above or just to the side of the webcam line-of-sight and use those to remind you of the experiences you wanted to talk about.

4- Whenever possible, answer each question as if it were a behavioral question.  Q: “Do you think you have the patience to teach young students?” A: “That’s a great question.  Let me tell you about a time when I…”  The point in the interview is for the interviewer to get to know you.  They already have your resume/cv in front of them but those are just words (albeit, important ones!) they really need to see, hear, and experience YOU.

5- Be calm.  Create a mantra, chant, words of affirmation- whatever you choose to call them.  My friend uses:

I am prepared.

I am calm.

I am ready.


Prepping today:

Confirm appointment- let interviewer know how to pronounce my name phonetically (Done! But I forgot to add my Skype ID.  Again.  Argh. I had to send it separately last time but we’ve been confirmed as contacts on Skype so, hopefully, it’s all fine.)

Set up/test lighting (Done!)

Set up/test sound (Skype settings adjusted for headset NOT speakers/webcam mic) (Done!)

Set up background (Shoji screen with light fabric draped over it) (Done!)

Print application (Done!)

Print key words for experiences (behavioral questions)

Practice answering questions

Notarized copy of degree

Another to-do list item has been crossed off!

I now have two notarized copies of my degree.

My credit union has several notary public officers on staff so there was no appointment or waiting necessary, just a walk-in service (I called just to make sure!).

I brought with me:

  • original degree
  • driver’s license for ID
  • my own copies (not necessary in this case)
  • and a smile.

I did make her life a little difficult since most of the information I had read beforehand showed that the notary information was stamped across the degree copy then signed/dated.  However, here they only had a slip of paper that would be filled out and stapled to the copy.  That didn’t seem very official and I had visions of my documents being rejected.  =(

What finally wound up happening was that this very patient and kind woman took my degree and copied it alongside the slip of paper she normally would have stapled to the document and then signed/dated in ink and officially stamped it with her seal.  I wrote my name and signed underneath (in between the degree and the official slip).

It was all free and I got two notarized copies that were much better copies than the ones I had brought with me!

Next, I called the state office just to make sure this was all exactly what they needed and the answer was YES!

So, on Monday I will head to the FedEx office and ship it out along with:

  1. a prepaid, self-addressed express envelope
  2. completed official application form from the state website
  3. a cover letter with the following information
  • Apostille request
  • Date:
  • Name:
  • Phone:
  • E-mail:
  • Country where documents will be sent:
  • Instructions for returning documents:
  • Signature:

The state office said both on the application and verbally that FedEx is best as it goes directly to their office and doesn’t sit in a mail distribution/sorting facility.  And it’s faster.  =)